NTSB Identification: SEA97FA178.
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Accident occurred Monday, July 28, 1997 in CLACKAMAS, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/06/1998
Aircraft: Cessna 172M, registration: N80222
Injuries: 2 Fatal,1 Serious.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The newly certificated private pilot, a recent high school graduate, had two friends from his high school aboard. Before the accident, the aircraft was seen maneuvering at low airspeed and altitude in the vicinity of one of the passengers' houses. A flight instructor-qualified witness reported that at about 40 feet above ground level, the aircraft entered a steep turn of more than 80 degrees bank, and that the nose then dropped steeply and the aircraft crashed. The crash site was 3/8 mile east of the front seat passenger's house. This passenger's brother reported that he was talking with the front seat passenger on a cell phone at the time of the accident. He stated that the passenger instructed his brother to come out on the deck of the house because they were going to fly over. When the brother told the passenger he had not seen the aircraft, the passenger told his brother to wait on the deck while the aircraft turned around and came back over. During an on-scene examination of the aircraft wreckage, investigators found no evidence of preimpact aircraft mechanical problems.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed in a steep turn and his concurrent failure to maintain adequate altitude, resulting in an accelerated stall at an altitude insufficient for recovery. Factors include the pilot's intentional low altitude flight and maneuvering in an ostentatious display, and the pilot's lack of total experience.

Full narrative available

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